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African Swine Fever developments in Asia

10th Jul 2024 / By Katie Jarvis

There have been a number of developments in African Swine Fever in Asia over the past few months. While our focus is primarily on what is happening in relation to disease spread in Europe, we remain attentive to how the disease and response to it is changing around the world. ASF ASIA JUNE

Following the approval of the first ASF vaccine – AVAC ASF LIVE – in Vietnam in July 2023, there has been a second live-attenuated ASF vaccine approved in Vietnam following live trials. To date, only around one percent of the domestic pig population has been vaccinated. One of the ASF vaccines approved in Vietnam has been provided to several other countries in the region; India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. A third vaccine has also been tested on two commercial farms but has not yet been approved. Vaccine trials are also ongoing in the Philippines.

The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) has urged countries to be mindful of the risks of using sub-standard vaccines that are not in line with WOAH international standards. They also mentioned that if countries do implement vaccines, that they should conduct their own trials before use.

The disease itself is also developing, with a new recombinant virus with features of both genotype I and genotype II first reported in China in 2023. This newer strain has now emerged in domestic pigs in several provinces in northern Vietnam. Vaccines in use in the region are not effective against these strains which will likely impact the success of vaccination campaigns in Vietnam.

Outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs have also occurred in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, eastern Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, with several of these countries also reporting wild boar outbreaks.

There have been no outbreaks of ASF reported to WOAH since early 2023 from China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, North Korea, Papua New Guinea or Timor-Leste. It is likely that the virus is still circulating in these areas as reports have been made to FAO, disease surveillance databases and local media.

ASF continues to spread to new regions and new countries, with both wild boar and domestic pigs vulnerable. It remains illegal for travellers to import meat or dairy products from Asia and other non-EU country areas. Illegal importation of infected pork meat from affected parts of Asia, presents a significant route of entry of ASF virus into the UK. People returning from any ASF-affected areas of the world should avoid any contact with domestic pigs in commercial holdings, smallholdings or even household pet pigs. Habitats where feral pigs or wild boar exist should also be avoided. All clothing, footwear or equipment should be disinfected before entering pig areas.